In an era where state and university budgets are continually stretched, Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer signed into law House Bill 2272 and opened the door to increased partnerships between industry and Arizona’s public universities. Signed on March 29, 2012, the law takes effect immediately.
This legislation is the result of a cooperative effort by a wide range of stakeholders. The Arizona Bioscience Industry Association (AZBio) came together with its bioscience company members and partner organizations, the Arizona Technology Council, Arizona’s public universities, and the media to find a solution that met everyone’s needs. Thanks to this process and the leadership of the bill’s sponsor, Representative Vic Williams, and the support of Senator Al Melvin who shepherded this bill through the Senate, HB2272 received unanimous support during each step in the legislative process.
While we often read about the frustrations of working within the legislative process, the story of HB 2722 is a great example of how the process can work. A collaborative spirit is a hallmark of Arizona’s bioscience community. This so –called “collaborative gene” is at the root of great research collaborations and bioindustry partnerships across the state. By applying it to the legislative process, a solution was crafted to address concerns raised by industry relating to sponsored research and Arizona’s Open Records laws. These concerns were limiting partnering opportunities and threatened to slow down the state’s rapid bioscience industry growth. When a cross section of committed industry stakeholders and legislators applied their efforts to addressing the concern, the result was a mutually agreed solution that became a bill and then a law in just 45 days.
“Arizona’s bioscience industry is in the business of cures,” shared AZBio CEO, Joan Koerber-Walker. “From groundbreaking research to the launch and growth of innovative companies, we are addressing the challenges of our time: feeding the world, alternative energy sources, and sustainable and affordable health solutions. Here in the desert we understand that you cannot succeed alone. We move forward faster when we work together not just in the lab but in the halls of government too.”
Arizona’s bioscience industry creates advantages for Arizona in the form of a vibrant economy and high quality, high paying jobs. At the heart of our success and growth is the ability for Arizona to attract sponsored research in the form of clinical trials, industry/university research collaborations and other partnerships that attract industry investment into our universities, create new jobs, and lead to further innovations that can be launched and grown here.”
“Arizona’s public universities are leading research institutions with world-renowned research teams, shared Representative Williams, the bill’s sponsor “HB2272 ensures an appropriate level of protection for confidential data collected through contractual, university-based research on behalf of a private third party. This is key to supporting the significant bioscience and technology industry partners we have here in Arizona. Our goal with HB2272 was to support Arizona’s innovation community by creating a legislative environment that supports research partnerships between our universities and these companies and welcomes new innovation partners as well. We achieved our goal.”
With this new law, Arizona
- Clearly defines the terms of confidential exemptions from the open records law.
- Maintains the sanctity of Arizona’s well-established open records laws.
- Protects the universities’ ability to publish academic conclusions from public/private research.
- Allows Arizona to compete for private/public research contracts against other states with tighter open records laws.
- Protects against the loss of current research contracts or the possibility of missed opportunities due to concerns over Arizona’s previous open records law.
“HB2272 makes important clarifications to our existing statutes, added Koerber-Walker. “Already supported by case law, these changes now clearly state in statute how the process will work and how private IP can be protected. With the signing of HB2272, Arizona opens the door to new research investments in our state today as well as higher levels of industry sponsored research in the future. This will create more jobs and more opportunities for our universities and for the people of Arizona.”
Additional News Coverage:
Brewer Signs Law Protecting University Research, Angela M. Gonzales, Phoenix Business Journal
Governor signs HB2272, intellectual property protections , Arizona Daily Independent
T0 learn more about AZBio and Arizona’s Bioscience Industry, visit www.azbio.org.
Experience Arizona’s Bioscience Innovation, Collaboration and Thought Leadership LIVE on May 17, 2012 at the AZBio Expo. To learn more visit www.AZBioExpo.com.
Joan Koerber-Walker President and CEO, Arizona BioIndustry Association | AdvancingBio@AZBio.org